Let’s talk healthy relationships. When couples have been together for any length of time, the sexual energy and emotional health often waxes and wanes like the cycles of the moon (although perhaps not as often).
Let’s define sexual health as the ability to still be aroused and do something about it and emotional health as the ability to speak freely without fear or judgment. With sexual health men and women both have this wonderful, God-given gift of feeling in a state of excitement for their mate, but for women, there often has to be more of an emotional connection as well. With emotional health, women just need to vent and men often need to try to fix situations that may not need fixing. This can lead to serious disconnections.
Feeling good about your own body enhances the sexual experience 100 fold. Because sex is not just physical, but very emotional as well men would be wise to take note that wives need to be reminded that they are beautiful.
Wives should take note that men often need a visual clue. Here lies the conundrum. If a woman is suffering from low self-esteem, then trying to look “sexy” for him often hits the morale even more. She may be thinking things like “I still have 10 pounds of pregnancy weight to shed”, “How can he expect me to don the Victoria Secret when I still have three loads of laundry to do and baby vomit on my last T-Shirt?”
I consider myself to be a strong and evolved woman. Dare I even say I may be a feminist? I went through years of being resentful that my husband expected a particular appearance or look from me when I felt that he should love me for just me! I wore Crocs because they were comfortable. I gained weight because I was always eating on the run taking the kids to swim practice or playdates. Let’s not forget that my mom needed her prescriptions filled and no longer drove. Dad had Alzheimer’s so I drove him everywhere too. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I had them all.
Then one year my sister was visiting from California. She, my husband and I had a few drinks out behind our pond at our fire pit. I was exhausted from a long day homeschooling our kids and taking care of the aging parents. I excused myself and went to bed.
My husband and sister stayed out much later and drank some more. The next day she and I had a long talk about what she and said husband were discussing. It hurt so much to hear how saddened my husband was that I had let myself go. How dare he tell her that. Shouldn’t he just love me no matter what? Yes, however, he also explained that he was still taking care of himself for me.
I felt like I had been hip upside the head with a bat and that she was taking his side. When I chose to swallow my pride a bit, I realized that he was working 40 plus hours per week, he did all of the major repairs on our home, attended 90% of all of our children’s athletic and scholastic events, and still found time to work out and keep his rock solid body.
With the stress I was putting on myself to be the best caregiver for my parents and the best mom/teacher to my kids, I had lost sight of the man who should be second in my life after God. Our communication had gotten so dysfunctional that he felt better about opening up to my sister instead of me. Ouch. He actually told her that it would be great if she told me (did you read that?) how much he still loved me and thought that I was smart, and a great mom.
Communication is the most important facet of getting what you want and need as well as supplying your partner with the same. However, at that time in our marriage, it was excruciating and difficult for my husband so he opened up to my sister who acted as a coach.
I took to heart that he was scared to open up to me and that I had placed my affection for him on the back burner so that I could be all things to everyone else.
This is one of the biggest reasons that I now coach. I want to be that person, like my sister, who reawakens physical and emotional well being when it comes to loving your spouse.
I learned from that fire pit chat that both our emotional health and physical relations were in jeopardy and that we both needed a buoy to keep our communication and relationship afloat. Are you and your husband or wife in need of a marriage-saving buoy? I’d love to throw you that lifeline.